Linda J. White here, writing from Somerville, Virginia. I write mystery/suspense but to me, there’s not much more mysterious than marketing! I’m an introvert, like many writers, and the thought of self-promotion sends serial chills down my spine.
In addition, I can be organizationally challenged (that’s my husband you hear chortling in the background). With traditionally published books out in 2005, 2013, and 2014 and indies in 2013 and 2015, marketing began to feel like playing a game of whack-a-mole to me. Every day another opportunity, suggestion, idea, or informational blog post added to my marketing to-do list. Platform pressure grew: How many Facebook and Twitter followers did I have? Was I blogging regularly? What about newsletters, press releases, signings, and public appearances? Did I have a launch team? Influencers? Online giveaways? Facebook parties?
Talk about stress! So I’ve had to do what good counselors often advise: re-think and reframe. I’ve had to re-think the idea that I’m responsible for doing it all. And I’ve had to reframe marketing, not as self-promotion, but as meeting needs.
I got that idea from Rob Eagar. I sat in on one of Rob’s workshops at a conference, and his book, “Sell Your Books like Wildfire,” is one of the most helpful marketing resources I have.
Rob suggests that authors begin their marketing process by determining the value of their books. What’s in it for the reader? After all, with the possible exception of your mother, most people purchase books based on self-interest. They’re looking for information, inspiration, or a good, recreational read.
Step 1 for authors, then, is to figure out just what value their books provide, and then convey that to potential readers.
At first, considering the type of books I write, that seemed weird. After all, do people need to read about fictional crime? Do they need the stress of the “up all night reading” I try to provide?
No, I realized, but they may need to be reminded of God’s sovereignty in all situations. Of his care and provision in difficult circumstances. About his love for justice. They may need to know about human trafficking, or hear again about the ultimate power of love. Or they may simply need clean entertainment options.
That I can provide. That I can “market.” That is worth Tweeting about.
How about you? What’s the value of your book? How will reading it improve the lives of your readers?
Begin with that question. Give yourself permission to skip some forms of communication. And then see if marketing feels less like whack-a-mole and more like outreach.